Do you own a fitness club or training studio where you have many people coming in and out of the building on a daily basis? Do these clients feel like they are part of a community or “fit family”? Are these people connected in anyway? Do they help motivate each other? Do they even notice each other?
If you own a fitness club or training studio something you should be striving for is a sense of community in your facility.
What Does it Mean to Have a Community at your Studio or Fitness Club?
My personal opinion of a strong community culture is that coaches know the majority of the client’s names, the clients know each other’s names, people notice when others aren’t there for a while, people motivate and challenge each other to work harder, and, overall, people feel welcomed when they walk in the door.
friendly community in the studio leads to more returning customers who will be getting better results
The gym can be an intimidating place for many people, by creating a community feeling at your studio it will keep clients coming back because they feel comfortable and feel a sense of a family while in your facility. This means more people talking about your business to friends and family. that will bring client referrals into your business.
Speaking from personal experience, I have worked very hard to build a friendly community feel at my studio. It makes for more of a fun work environment and I have personally noticed higher client retention and results because of it. I love going to work. And whether I am teaching group classes or private personal training sessions, I honestly feel like hanging out with my friends all day.
Sometimes trying to begin building the “community” feel can be hard and often frustrating. People are all busy and don’t want to participate in other things outside their workouts. Some people have a “no new friends” mentality and just want to go to the gym and go home—that’s it. I have found that people might begin thinking like that, but if you try hard enough, they will cave and begin to love their fitness family. Even if it is forced upon them!
Engage your clients and build long-term relationships.
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How to Build a Sense of Community at Your Fitness Studio
1. Leaderboards, Contests, and Field Trips
At my studio we always have a “leaderboard” going on our whiteboards to allow clients to challenge each other in different events. This creates some good old fashioned competition and it’s great to see how people support each other and also will do anything to come out on top! (P.S. This technique also works online: just post combined workout stats in your online client group chats!)
We also do many contests at different times of a year, like 21-day challenges, class attendance contests, and competitions for the hightest number of tracked workouts in a month in their Trainerize app.
Another great way to build community is to organize “field trips” outside of your studio to get the clients together in a different environment. For example, we always hold an annual Christmas party at a restaurant near our studio and go on frequent hikes. For example, this weekend we are going to visit a rock climbing gym to “test our strength” and have some fun. I figure many of your clients might want to try some new activities. However, they either don’t have someone to try it with or are too scared. Who else will make you to step outside your comfort zone, if not your fit family, right?
2. Create a Group In Trainerize or a Private Facebook Group
We have both of these running at my studio and they work great! I think it’s safe to say that at least 95% of your clients have a smartphone. This means they probably have access to one of these groups. As a coach, you can use these groups to post updates, provide tidbits of information regarding training and nutrition. Also, you can allow clients to communicate and support each other when they are away from the studio.
Use automated messaging and group features to create a community at your club or studio.
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3. Introduce New Clients to “Seasoned Veterans” and Other Coaches to Make Them Feel Welcome
This is very important! When any new clients come through the doors to your studio they are probably nervous. So, it’s important to do anything you can to make them feel comfortable.
Introducing new clients to current members and other coaches is a great way to make them feel better about their first trip to your studio.
Let’s be honest, the likelihood of clients returning if they were completely ignored, felt left out, or didn’t feel comfortable is very low. One thing I must say my current clients are amazing for is welcoming new clients when they come to try a class. They motivate new clients through their workouts by saying things like: “Don’t worry I almost died my first class, too” or “It get’s easier if you keep coming back”, and “So, are we going to see you next class?” I don’t even have to do anything! Our community is so solid they do the recruiting for me.
The support of the community we have built wasn’t done overnight, but it sure is worth it. Don’t get discouraged if no one wants to attend your first field trip or join a contest. All it takes is one or two people to sign up. After that, the rest will get on board, trust me! Just keep coming up with new ideas and eventually they will all cave!
I hope this helps you build a better sense of community at your fitness studio.